Q&A TOM SYKES DISCUSSES WSBK TITLE CHANCES AHEAD OF THIS WEEKEND’S SEASON FINALE AT MAGNY-COURS

Tom Sykes - Photo courtesy: www.tomsykes66.com

Tom Sykes – Photo courtesy: www.tomsykes66.com

Tom Sykes heads into this weekend’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship season finale at Magny-Cours as one of three men still capable of winning the title. 

The 27-year-old Kawasaki rider from Huddersfield is 30.5 points behind Italian Max Biaggi and eight clear of BMW’s Marco Melandri. But with 50 points still available from the two races in France, Sykes hasn’t given up on lifting his first WSBK crown. Here, he assesses his chances for this weekend.

How do you rate your chances at Magny-Cours?
“I’m going into this weekend feeling very relaxed. It is what it is after giving away points during the second Portuguese race at the last round, which was out of our control, but other than that we’ve been fairly strong and consistent all year. So my plan is to go to Magny-Cours, do the best we can and see what happens. Mistakes can occur and my plan is not to make any!”

It sounds like you’re leaning towards a cautious approach then?
“It’s one of those where we have to do the best we can. If that means winning the races then fantastic but we’re 30.5 points off the lead so it might take a mistake from Biaggi to open things up. But that’s racing. The unpredictability is why we all enjoy it. Winning the championship is definitely still possible.” 

How do you see your Kawasaki stacking up against Max Biaggi’s Aprilia?
“We’ve shown potential at Magny-Cours in the past and that was with last year’s bike. But we’ve made a big step forward this season so I’m expecting to be even stronger.” 

Where does Many-Cours rate in your list of favourite circuits?
“To be honest it’s in the middle somewhere. But then I said that about Portimao and came away with a pole position, victory and the circuit record last time out. Basically, I’ve got a great manufacturer behind me so if the bike’s working well then previous experiences aren’t so important. It’s about confidence and I’ve got plenty of that. I’m certainly hoping to put on a good show.” 

This is just your fourth full WSBK season and it’s easily been your strongest. What’s changed?
“This year I’ve enjoyed a good, consistent working environment. The bike’s been excellent, it’s got good electronics and suspension and the team are working really hard together. I’m also riding well so when you add all of those factors together it’s a very useful combination. In previous years things haven’t always been as seamless, which hasn’t allowed me to reach my full potential, so I’m extremely grateful to Kawasaki, the ZX10R and the team. As a unit we’re operating at a consistently high level.”

You’ve scored eight Superpoles this season but only won three races. Are you frustrated not to have converted more into victories?
“It’s not something that bothers me as much as people talk about! Over one lap I have proven the Kawasaki to be very fast. It’s always easy to look bad in the race if you start from pole and finish second. Ultimately, we know that we suffer on the race tyres but, honestly, it’s not that bad. We’ve had three wins this year, one of which was in Portugal where I should have been on pole but actually started seventh. It’s a shame that we haven’t converted as many as we would have liked but we’re always pushing hard. In that respect nothing changes this weekend.”  

The final two races of this season’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship take place this Sunday with live UK coverage on British Eurosport 2 from 09.15.
Tickets and pricing:

  • 3-day pass for Grandstand L (Adelaide hairpin) located near dining area and toilet facilities (category 2): €75
  • 3-day pass: €65
  • Sunday ticket* only: €55
  • Paddock pass (when purchased with one of the options above): €25
  • Under 16s: Free entry
  • Secure parking (8am-7pm, Saturday and Sunday) valid for one motorcycle and two helmets: €10
  • Non-secured parking, campsites and giant TV screens: Free upon presentation of race tickets
  • 3-day Aprilia SBK PLUS pass: General admittance, access to Grandstand K, paddock, secure bike parking (9am-7pm) and Aprilia Village: €80
  • 3-day Planet Power BMW pass: General admittance, access to Grandstand F, paddock, secure bike parking (9am-7pm), BMW Village, drinks and gifts: €80

Club Privilege: General admittance and access to this second floor VIP balcony overlooking the pit-lane and start/finish straight. Pass includes: VIP parking nearby, complimentary coffee facilities and open bar, buffet lunch, TV screens, weekend-long paddock access, chauffer-driven circuit tour via public-prohibited access roads and pit-lane walkabout: €250 (Saturday) or €350 (Saturday/Sunday)
*Single day tickets are valid on Sunday 7 October only. Grandstand (excluding F, K and L), paddock, pit-lane and vending area access is all included.

For further information and to book tickets please visit: www.magnysbk.com
For news about Nevers Magny-Cours please visit: www.circuitmagnycours.com

You can keep up to date with the WSBK at Magny-Cours by following @MagnyCoursTrack and liking the circuit’s Facebook page.

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